Cause and Effect
Common ground: I want to let you know that I think your article about Dennis Burke and Arizona Common Cause was unfair ("Lost Cause," Amy Silverman, December 7).
In my 3,200-mile walk across the U.S. that ended earlier this year, just after my 90th birthday, Dennis and others in Arizona Common Cause (now the Arizona Good Government Association) were my best helpers. They raised money through a Web site, organized volunteers, and did communications work nationally. We had hundreds of print, television and radio stories about campaign finance reform -- many on the national level -- as a result.
Without Dennis, I don't think my walk would have amounted to much. He saw the importance of it, and Arizona Common Cause came to my rescue all across the U.S. when other organizations gave me little interest, until my journey was nearly completed.
I think we helped inject campaign finance reform into the national political agenda as a result -- and we are not finished by a long shot. The Arizona group, and Dennis in particular, is highly regarded by America's reform leaders. I am therefore joining their new organization, Arizona Good Government Association, as a member of its advisory board.
On a personal level, I consider Dennis Burke one of the finest human beings I met all across the country. I shall never forget the loving kindness Dennis bestowed upon me, and neither will my son, Jim, who continues a close friendship with him.
Dublin, New Hampshire
Sinking sensationalism: You're putting a confused he-she on the cover who is so mentally impaired that he-she cannot see that he-she caused his-her own cancer ("She-Male Trouble," Dewey Webb, December 7). Thanks for the image of some misfit squirting floor wax into his-her chest region. Let's hope lots of young girls read that, shall we?
Thanks for putting pedophile aficionados above the victimizations and civil rights violations currently taking place in our community ("Devils' Advocate," Amy Silverman, November 30). You serve the Ignorance Is Bliss crowd oh so well.
And, most especially, thanks for saving me a trip to pick up the New Times Enquirer next week. I'm not sure I can stomach your sure-to-come legitimization of bestiality and incest while knowing the socialists are telling trusting citizens to get rid of their self-defense weapons as they simultaneously look the other way in cases where they are most needed.
Fire your editor and replace him with someone with a sense of what serving the greatest needs of his community might be. Your "transgender" and kiddy-porn-supporting readers might suffer the loss of his warped priorities, but our community at large surely could be better served by a high school student with a rudimentary sense of purpose.
Peds on parade: I think the great tragedy here is that this misguided fool is busy helping pedophiles when his own daughter admits to being molested ("Devils' Advocate," Amy Silverman, November 30). Arizona is one of only a handful of states that has taken advantage of the full power of Megan's law legislation.
Bruce Herman, president
Child Molester Awareness Association
Body of evidence: I was very moved by the article "'Til Death Do Us Part" (Paul Rubin, November 23 and November 30). I normally have never been too affected emotionally by the deaths of people (especially when I have never even met them), but this story was different. I actually got pretty choked up for Judi Eftenoff and her family's loss. I have some mixed feelings on how she got mixed up in coke because I would like to believe that what seemed to be such a sweet, innocent girl from North Dakota wouldn't get involved in something like that on her own, and maybe it was Brian's doing.
I have thought of many possibilities about how she met with foul play, and they go like this: She and Brian got into a fight before he left for the casino. He hit her a bit, which explains the marks on her face and body. As far as the bruise on the back of her head that was compared to a pool-cue wound, maybe the cabinets in the kitchen had round knobs and she could have hit her head on those during their fight. I think when he left she was so depressed that she did not want to live anymore and overdosed. However, one thing about this possibility does not explain one last thing: How did so much undigested coke get in her stomach? Did he force it into her mouth before he left? Not to try to kill her, but maybe to say "You like coke so much, then I'll give you some coke" and shove a bunch down her throat -- almost like you might see in a movie.
The bottom line is even if Brian is guilty, I am not sure they have enough evidence to put him away. If he did do it, then I hope he gets what he deserves, whether it's at the hands of justice or by the circle of karma. What goes around comes around, and he will have to live with this guilt for the rest of his life. My thoughts and prayers go out to Judi's family and friends.
All About Steve
Wrenching Allen: Serene Dominic's senseless slam on the late Steve Allen ("Hi-No, Steverino!" November 30) demands correction and apology by New Times.
Even the laziest journalist would do some actual research before accusing a competent man of falsifying claims of achievement. Dominic easily could have picked up the phone and contacted ASCAP and BMI to verify Allen's claims, since Allen published nearly all the songs he wrote. Or he might have contacted Allen's office (Meadowlane Enterprises in Van Nuys, California), and someone there could have steered him toward independent sources of confirmation.
I knew Steve Allen. I worked with him for two seasons of his television talk show in the 1970s. I can tell you firsthand that Steve was a man of absolute integrity. I also can tell you firsthand that Steve Allen was a generous man who helped many, many talented people in their music careers.
And I can tell you that Steve was a decent man. Of the thousands of people I worked with in Hollywood, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows were among the most genuine.
Did ax grinding prompt this distasteful article? Perhaps Dominic's dislike of Steve Allen stems from Allen's well-publicized efforts in recent years urging decency in media. Judging from your publication's pages over the past many years, it appears that New Times thrives by a motto of "Indecency is highly profitable."
R. Patrick Neary
George of the jungle: Congratulations and thank you to Jeremy Voas for having the courage to write the truth about George W. Bush ("Dunce Fever," November 30)! To think that a whole state, and maybe even a whole country, could have voted for a man that brainless is a wonder to me. His entire staff should have run in the election. Then at least we would know who is going to be in charge of the country when and if "W" takes office.
What are the man's qualifications? He is governor of Texas -- a state that has seen only decline during his term. He owned a baseball team -- which proves he can sing the national anthem (maybe). He is the son of a former president -- during his father's convention nomination, "W" said he had absolutely no interest in politics. How long ago was that?
I hope that Voas is correct also to say George W. Bush cannot do much harm. I know we will at least get plenty of good jokes from him. We already have tons of quotes! Saturday Night Live should be great to watch for the next four years.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.